WINDHAM COUNTY

Chamber of Commerce
1010 Main Street
Willimantic 860-423-6389
www.windhamchamber.com

Regional Tourism Office
Information 860-536-8822
www.mysticcountry.com

Major Highways
Interstate 395; Routes 6, 44, 66, 97, and 169

Newcomers to Windham County will be enchanted by the pristine rural atmosphere, the wealth of historic sites, the elegance of vintage architecture, and the region’s serenity. Dubbed the “quiet northeast corner” of the state, Windham County is associated with abundant dairy farms and rambling countryside. However, many of its small, quaint towns are home to thriving manufacturing enterprises.

Along with the thriving commercial center of Willimantic, the town of Windham serves as the focal point for the region. Gently rounded hills and broad flood plain valleys dominate the terrain, highlighted by the joining of the Willimantic and Natchaug Rivers southeast of Willimantic to form the Shetucket River. Most of the communities in Windham County offer easy commutes to the major metropolitan areas of Hartford and Providence, Rhode Island. Slow growth and generational roots characterize the “Quiet Corner,” giving the Windham region its reputation for timeless beauty.

 

Services
In addition to a network of quality public schools from pre-kindergarten through high school, Windham County boasts its own major, state-supported university that includes professional studies and a graduate division. The resources available at Eastern Connecticut State University enrich the county educationally and culturally. Also convenient for residents of the county, the University of Connecticut is located within a reasonable commute outside of Hartford. A number of two-year institutions are close to home for those who want an affordable start on a degree program or career training.

Windham County provides quick links to local turnpikes and major thoroughfares like Interstate 86 into Massachusetts. A major expressway link between Hartford and Windham enhances travel to the capital city’s considerable resources, and interstate and commuter bus services are available. Bradley International  Airport is 40 miles away, and North Windham offers an airport just three miles from downtown Willamantic for private aviation and business aircraft. Healthcare services in Windham County are anchored by the Windham Community Memorial Hospital in Willimantic, an acute-care facility that combines leading-edge services and technology in a personalized setting. The 130-bed hospital also offers many wellness and education programs and maintains affiliations with tertiary care facilities to provide additional sophisticated services. Just a short drive from home is the world-renowned research and teaching institution of Yale-New Haven Hospital.

 

Lifestyle
Many of the towns that punctuate the landscape of Windham County have been in existence for at least three centuries. Evolving from agricultural roots through the nation’s industrial revolution, a surprising number of communities mix manufacturing sectors with operating farms. Within this rustic and rural environment, charming colonial architecture and history have been remarkably preserved or carefully restored. In fact, the Windham region that includes Willimantic boasts more privately owned Victorian homes per capita than the City of  San Francisco.

Willimantic, serving as the commercial center for the town of Windham, has its own rich history. Once dominated by the textile industry, the town was known worldwide as “Thread City”—one of the finest thread manufacturing centers outside of England. As late as 1983, it was consolidated as part of Windham. Wonderful museums combine and historic sites contrast with the high-speed thrills of automobile and greyhound racing tracks in this region, while the nearby University of Connecticut fills the calendar with collegiate sports events, performing art productions, and exhibit dates for the visual arts. Even closer to home in Brooklyn, the New England Center for Contemporary Art displays magnificent 20th century modern art as well as contemporary Chinese art in a grand-scale, four-story conversion of a pre-Revolutionary barn.

Those who appreciate nature will revel in the area’s abundance of herb farms and greenhouses, including Edmondson’s Farm and Capriland’s Herb Farm in Coventry. Creamery Brook Bison in Brooklyn offers wagon rides through a working farm, and Wright’s Mill Farm in Canterbury provides sports facilities, hiking trails, and other attractions on 250 acres of scenic farmland. Other regional highlights include one of the East’s largest hatcheries, Nathan Hale’s celebrated homestead, delightful wineries and vineyards, and more than 2,000 acres of natural beauty in Goodwin State Forest. The latter encourages a wide variety of recreational activities with miles of trails, a nature center, a 133-acre pond, a wildlife garden, and picturesque picnic areas.

With its unspoiled natural beauty and rustic ambiance made even more appealing by the modern conveniences, Windham County remains one of Connecticut’s well-kept secrets. However, continued improvements in transportation facilities and the growing trend toward rural living will force these welcoming small towns in Connecticut’s northeast quadrant to exert a conscious effort to remain the “Quiet Corner.”

 

Ashford, Chaplin
Ashford Offices
860-487-4400
www.ashfordtownhall.org
Chaplin Offices
860-455-0073
www.chaplinct.org
Chamber of Commerce
860-423-6389
www.windhamchamber.com

Two of the towns within the “Quiet Corner” of Connecticut are Ashford and Chaplin, nestled in a region filled with panoramic countryside, quaint town greens, historic mill villages, and patchwork farmland. Located in northeastern Connecticut, the Town of Ashford was originally set on the thoroughfare between Hartford and Boston and developed quickly. Close proximity to Hartford and the University of Connecticut  offers a quick commute to educational and cultural resources. Chaplin is a residential community that preserves a rural flavor and has added no significant business activity. The Chaplin Historic District preserves the magnificent homes that grace Main Street. These elegant residences were constructed as part of the wealth from silk production and paper mills in the mid 1800s.

 

Brooklyn, Hampton
Brooklyn Offices
860-779-3411
www.brooklynct.org
Hampton Offices
860-455-9132
www.hamptonct.org
Chamber of Commerce
860-774-8001
www.nectchamber.com

Situated in the eastern corner of the state, the town of Brooklyn is proud of its legacy of rambling, elegant 18th century homes that attest to the wealth of yesterday’s industry. The appeal of modern Brooklyn can be attributed to careful planning and a desire to preserve the colonial atmosphere created by the many landmarks and memorials. The eastern section of the town has remained primarily commercial, home to saw mills and manufacturers of electrical goods. “Rural residential” best describes the remaining stretches of Brooklyn, where a few dairy farms are still in operation. The neighboring town of Hampton is a small farming community that has managed to preserve its original agricultural character as well as many treasures from the past. The picturesque Edwin Way Teale Memorial Sanctuary offers 168 acres of fields, forest, ponds, streams, and trails as well as a fine museum that honors the Pulitzer Prize winning nature author. Newcomers are sure to discover a tranquil residential haven in this quaint New England village setting as well as access to recreational sites.

 

Killingly, Putnam
Killingly Offices
860-779-5300
www.killingly.org
Putnam Offices
860-963-6800
www.putnamct.us
Chamber of Commerce
860-774-8001
www.nectchamber.com

Also encompassing Danielson Borough, the Town of Killingly sprawls over 50 square miles in northern Connecticut. Although the closure of several large factories was devastating to the area’s economy in the 1950s, revitalization followed the surge of competition and new economic activity driven by Connecticut turnpike expansion. Today, Killingly serves as a flourishing commercial center that produces everything from surgical supplies and electrical insulation to food products. The scenic town of Putnam has evolved into a regional retail center, drawing revenue from customers who live in the neighboring communities of Pomfret, Eastford, Woodstock, and Thompson as well as those in nearby towns in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. The community boasts a famous antiques district where more than 500 dealers attract visitors from major metropolitan centers including Providence, Boston, and New York City. To enhance its appeal, Putnam has renovated its riverfront district to add recreational attractions. The town is home to the Bradley Playhouse of 1890 vaudeville fame.

 

Plainfield, Sterling
Plainfield Offices
860-230-3000
www.plainfieldct.org
Sterling Offices
860-564-2904
www.sterlingct.us
Chamber of Commerce
860-774-8001
www.nectchamber.com

The town of Plainfield is a rural community with a strong industrial sector, but it also offers tranquil, tree-shaded neighborhoods. The community encompasses the villages of Moosup, Central Village, and Wauregan. Many are familiar with the Plainfield area as the home of the Connecticut State Fish Hatchery and the Greyhound Park that offers live simulcast horse racing and draws year-round visitors to the track. The town of Sterling in the center of Connecticut’s eastern border with Rhode Island covers 27 square miles. Once a part of Voluntown, Sterling is an independent community that bases its economy around dairy farming and manufacturing. Residents have the all the advantages of a small-town atmosphere in close proximity to the amenities in major metropolitan centers like Providence and Hartford. The University of Connecticut in Storrs provides cultural enrichment.

 

Pomfret, Eastford
Pomfret Offices
860-315-5730
www.pomfretct.org
Eastford Offices
860-974-0133
www.eastfordct.org
Chamber of Commerce
860-774-8001
www.nectchamber.com

The small, friendly town of Eastford has long been characterized as a tranquil rural community. Along with the neighboring town of Pomfret, these two “Quiet Corner” villages are strategically located midway between the capital city of Hartford and Providence, Rhode Island—approximately an hour’s drive from both metropolitan centers. Pomfret is known historically as the location of the Wolf Den, where General Israel Putnam killed the last wolf in the state. Connecticut now maintains the cave and surrounding area as a state park, and the Wolf Den is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Pomfret is a growing community, evolving from its roots as a strictly agricultural development to a residential haven with a rural atmosphere. Several farms still dot the 40 square miles of area, the majority being related to dairy production. Others produce everything from apples and grapes to pumpkins. The area is growing in popularity with new businesses.

 

Thompson, Woodstock
Thompson Offices
860-923-9561
www.thompsonct.org
Woodstock Offices
860-928-0208
www.woodstockct.gov
Chamber of Commerce
860-774-8001
www.nectchamber.com

Located in the extreme northeast corner of the state bordering Massachusetts and Rhode Island, Thompson covers 49 square miles. Settled as the northern district of Killingly, the town has traditionally served as a thriving manufacturing center. Today, the community of Thompson is home to a collection of light industries. The largest of these companies are manufacturers of tool and die or paper goods. Residents and visitors alike enjoy high-speed auto racing excitement at the Thompson International Speedway. Situated along the Massachusetts border, the town of Woodstock is a growing rural community with a tradition of dairy farming. Like many of the Quiet Corner communities, Woodstock is proud of the history and heritage that is preserved in landmarks and buildings. The premier treasures from the past in this area include the Roseland Cottage-Bowen House with its elegant Gothic Revival architecture, an 1850 garden, and a barn that preserves one of the oldest surviving indoor bowling alleys in
the nation.

 

Windham, Canterbury, Scotland
Windham Offices
860-465-3000
www.windhamct.com
Canterbury Offices
860-546-9693
www.canterburyct.org
Scotland Offices
860-423-9634
www.scotlandct.org
Chamber of Commerce
860-423-6389
www.windhamchamber.com

The Town of Windham in the east-central portion of Connecticut is the proud home of the lush campus of Eastern Connecticut State University. This respected institution  stimulates the community by creating a “college town” atmosphere and provides wealth of educational and cultural programs. Recreational amenities are well developed and include several nearby state-maintained recreational facilities for camping, boating and fishing. Encompassed within Windham is the City of Willimantic, a hub of business and commerce and the location of the ECSU campus. Canterbury has remained primarily agricultural through the decades. Being removed from major transportation routes protected the town from major transitions throughout the industrial revolution. The Town of Scotland has remained sparsely populated, and little has occurred over the centuries to disturb the tranquility and pristine scenic beauty of this agricultural community. Former state governor Samuel Huntington and a signer of the Declaration of Independence are famous native sons.

 

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